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Green technology: Creating a more sustainable dairy processing sector
Siân Yates

Siân Yates

11 July 2024

Green technology: Creating a more sustainable dairy processing sector

In response to industry challenges, efforts are underway to enhance sustainability in dairy processing. Innovations, like optimised heating processes and advanced separation technologies, aim to minimise resource consumption and carbon emissions. These endeavours reflect a broader industry commitment to sustainable practices and product quality, as FoodBev's Siân Yates explores.


Dairy remains a cornerstone of nutrition worldwide, particularly in regions where it serves as a primary source of sustenance.


Nevertheless, one of the F&B industry’s foremost challenges lies in balancing surging demand with the imperative to minimise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy consumption and water usage.


Urgent action is required to address and mitigate the sector’s environmental footprint.


Raising the bar with raslysation


Based in Denmark, Lyras specialises in the development, production and delivery of raslysation, a non-thermal pasteurisation alternative tailored for the liquid processing industry.


“Because raslysation uses minimal resources, implementing the technology instead of pasteurisation or microfiltration will reduce the resource usage of a processing production,” CCO of Lyras, Mark K Andersen.

He added: “It would also improve companies’ competitiveness as raslysation uses 60-80% less water and 60-90% less energy and increases yield”.


Lyras is currently working on projects involving whey, cheese, milk and the replacement of thermisation for yogurt and UHT milk. In all of these applications, raslysation increases yield and maintains bioactivity.



Raslysation stands out as a non-thermal technology, utilising UV light instead of heat to deactivate microorganisms in liquids. This innovation translates to significant energy and water savings. Moreover, by preserving bioactivity, including nutrients and proteins, to a higher degree compared to pasteurisation and filtration methods, raslysation ensures superior product quality.


“Additionally, because there is no heat to cause the liquid to coagulate, the need for cleaning is lessened as well,” explained Andersen. “This increases uptime and yield. In all, raslysation allows producers to obtain the same results as with traditional treatment methods, if not better, using considerably fewer resources and getting more output from the same input.”


Tech that meets targets


Tetra Pak is focused on reducing its GHG emissions in dairy ambient processing equipment by 50% by 2030. “We are innovating to improve the energy efficiency of our processing equipment, lines and plants, and supporting our customers towards net-zero GHG emissions,” a spokesperson for the company said.


They continued: “An example of this is the UHT 2.0 Heating Portfolio, using OneStep technology... OneStep combines several essential steps of milk processing into a single efficient process, where milk undergoes pre-heating, separation, standardisation and homogenisation – all in one unbroken step. By removing the pasteurisation and intermediate storage steps, the processing time is shortened from as much as two days to just a few hours.”



Furthermore, the company’s UHT processing line for high-temperature sterilisation of dairy products is “the first solution” to be offered together with a scalable solar thermal supply, with the potential to reduce fossil fuel usage by up to 40%. The first module is forecasted to be installed during 2024, before scaling to a worldwide market.


Keep it clean


GEA unveiled its dairy separator innovations at Anuga FoodTec 2024, focusing on consistent output and energy efficiency for bacteria removal. The GEA ecoclear i bacteria removal separator is tailored for small- to medium-sized dairies seeking cost-effective, service-friendly solutions. This innovation, integrating a direct drive system, significantly reduces energy consumption by transmitting power directly to the bowl.


Unlike traditional set-ups, it eliminates the need for additional components like transmission, belts or couplings that are prone to wear and tear. Easily maintained on-site, this modular design ensures enhanced dairy product quality, extended shelf life and minimised production losses, contributing to a more sustainable and profitable industry.


Unlike smaller, higher-speed centrifuges, GEA’s line of MSI skimming separators, featuring GEA EngySpeed, prioritises larger bowl volumes, achieving the same clarification area at lower speeds and reduced power usage. With longer maintenance intervals due to decreased mechanical load, these separators significantly reduce energy consumption by up to 40%. Lower speeds equate to substantial energy savings.



The dairy industry faces pressing challenges amid surging demand and environmental concerns. Efforts to enhance sustainability are evident through innovative technologies like raslysation and advancements in separator designs. A commitment to sustainability, efficiency and innovation will be paramount in addressing the industry’s complex challenges and achieving long-term success.

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